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Toyota in profit despite earthquake

Car giant Toyota has posted a 1.1 billion yen (£8.7 million) profit in the last quarter, managing to stay in the black despite the devastation of the quake and tsunami in north-eastern Japan.

April-June profits for the world's biggest vehicle maker were a fraction of the 190.4 billion yen (£1.5 billion) it earned in the same period the previous year.

Quarterly sales crashed 29% because of production disruptions.

However, the company has raised its forecast for the full year to March 2012, saying sales had held up in Asian nations such as Indonesia.

Toyota now expects an annual profit of 390 billion yen (£3.1 billion) compared with its previous forecast of 280 billion yen (£2.2 billion) profit. The new forecast is still 4% lower than profit in the previous year.

The company raised its annual sales forecast to 19 trillion yen (£150 billion) from 18.6 trillion yen (£147 billion). That would mark a slight improvement from the previous year's 18.99 trillion yen (£149.9 billion).

All of the Japanese car makers were hit by a shortage of key parts after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed suppliers.

Toyota's sales were affected not only in Japan but also in the US and other important markets as reduced car production fell short of demand.

But the maker of the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models appears to be bouncing back quicker than expected, as are rival Japanese vehicle manufacturers.

The quarterly profit was better than expected. A FactSet survey of analysts had forecast Toyota to report a quarterly loss.

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